Personal Training in Manhattan - The Works NYC

Are you working out hard enough? You have a program that either you found on the internet, or a friend from the gym gave you, or maybe it’s even an old program given to you by a former trainer. You’re following it to a “T” but still, nothing is changing. How can that be? You’re even eating well… SUPER FRUSTRATING.

Here is why this could be happening… your intensity isn’t there.


Workout intensity refers to how much energy is expended when exercising. Perceived intensity varies with each person. It has been found that intensity has an effect on what fuel the body uses and what kind of adaptations the body makes after exercise. Intensity is the amount of physical power (expressed as a percentage of the maximal oxygen consumption) that the body uses when performing an activity. For example, exercise intensity defines how hard the body has to work to walk a mile in 20 minutes. ~Wikipedia 😉

In basic English, it’s how hard you’re working when you workout.


Oftentimes you find yourself doing the same exercises and using the same weights. You saw changes at first, then everything hit a wall and stopped. There’s this principle known as the Law of Adaptation… meaning, your body will learn to adapt to a certain stimulus. It adapts by getting stronger, bigger, more shapely, etc. Once it adapts, it ceases the need to change. Think of it… you saw changes when you first started squatting because it was a new thing to the body, so it had to learn how to respond and handle the stress. You continue to use the same weight, but the body has already learned how to handle it, so there’s no need to change… or get stronger… or change shape….

How can you stop this from happening to you?


Switch up your exercises every few weeks. Don’t allow the body to keep doing something it’s super good at.


Use a weight that is difficult to perform for 10 reps for a few weeks, then move into a higher rep phase for a few weeks (15+ reps). The change in reps requires a different type of muscular response therefore, creating the change needed to adapt.


Don’t lift a weight you are comfortable lifting. Don’t limit yourself to what’s easy. The body needs to be pushed to change (there’s that Law of Adaptation thing again…). Get out of your comfort zone! Pick up a weight that is heavy enough to make it so that you can ONLY do the number of reps you’re aiming for (with good form of course). Each workout, try to go a little heavier or get 1 more rep with that same weight. If you continue to add a stimulus, the body will continue the need to make a change.


If you’re used to doing exercises by themselves for a number of sets, try stringing them together for a superset (2 exercises) or a giant set (3 exercises). For instance, choose 2 exercises and do one after the other, then take your rest. Repeat for the number of sets you wish to complete. Hmmm, rest… which brings me to:


If you are resting too long in between sets, then it’s as if you are starting over on the next set. You want to rest long enough to recover but still create a progressive overload. If you are going for endurance, then shorter rests can be taken (30-60 seconds), endurance being 15 or more reps/exercise. If you are going for shaping or building (8-12 reps), your rests need to be a little longer (60-120 sec). Stop chatting in between sets and start timing your rests!


You will get out of your workouts what you put into them. If you find you have been doing the same routine for months, taking too long for rests, it’s time to switch it up. If you are having trouble coming up with a solid plan to keep things interesting and keep your body from hitting the dreaded plateau, then think about hiring a trainer to help. Their job is to help your body to continually progress so that you can reach your goal in a more timely and efficient manner. Spinning your wheels in the gym is frustrating.

Time to make a change!

In Health,

Jennifer Searles 🙂


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